When IBM UK Ltd decided to cut its Havant, Hampshire factory off without a penny and left it to fend for itself as Xyratex Ltd, it unnaccountable allowed a potentially important piece of software go with it – and now Xyratex, ostensibly a contract manufacturer of disk drives – is launching a query tool for […]
When IBM UK Ltd decided to cut its Havant, Hampshire factory off without a penny and left it to fend for itself as Xyratex Ltd, it unnaccountable allowed a potentially important piece of software go with it – and now Xyratex, ostensibly a contract manufacturer of disk drives – is launching a query tool for DB2/2 that was intended to have been bundled with the forthcoming release of the database and will provide query facilities missing in DB2/2. IBM’s Toronto labs developing the latest version of DB2/2 had wanted to bundle Xyratex’s XY-Query for OS/2 with the database when it ships at the end of the month, believing XY-Query to be a natural successor to Query Manager. But these plans were scuppered by IBM Corp in Santa Teresa, California, which has overall control of the project and wanted to simplify (the company’s) decision support line of products. It felt there was too much overlap between Xyratex’s product and existing IBM offerings, and the Xyratex one did not provide data entry capabilities. But Visu alizer, which IBM is touting as one possible query tool, takes up 20Mb of disk space and was deemed as too big to bundle with the database. IBM is working on Visualizer to improve performance and reduce its size: once that’s completed, it might bundle it with the database. But until then, DB2/2 will ship with only the most pefunctory of access facilities, as beta testers have found. IBM has denied that this is anything of an embarrassment: it said that with this release, the philosophy behind DB2/2 has changed. It described the product as more in line with Unix, beefier and more powerful, and said it was up to the user to choose the query tool that was best suited to his requirements.
If IBM sold everything
This could be Visualizer; XY-Query, which IBM described as adequate for quick, uncomplicated access; or Ultralite, a stripped- down version of DB2/2 with a its own visual front end written in C at the Toronto laboratory, which would be used in the same way that Approach and Access are. Work on what is now XY-Query had started at Havant before the buyout and it is actually version two of DDQS2, a previous access tool for DB2/2. When the Havant plant’s management was driven into negotiations to try to give it a future buy staging a buyout, it decided the company would have to be more than just a contract manufacturer of disk drives and insisted that they would proceed with the deal only if IBM sold everything, including the software development operation. Now it appears to be the one company that could make DB2/2 much more attractive to users, and it’s certainly promoting the tool as doing just that. And if XY-Query proves popular with customers, it will help give the company a reputation as a software developer, something it is very keen to gain. Xyratex says the tool can be used with the whole range of DB2-styled databases on all IBM systems, and will eventually be usable with other relational databases and other desktop environments, including Unix. It ships on one floppy disk, installs in seconds, can run on an 80386 box, and takes up just 2.5Mb of disk space. Users can tailor queries and have them reside as icons on their desktops, which can be edited using SQL or the product’s own Query Builder. The product costs ú140 and volume agreements are available.